Monthly Archives: January 2016

What I Learned January 2016: Frog Eating, Goal Setting, Vacation and What Makes Me Happy

Frog eating, goal setting, vacation and what makes me happy.

Linking up with Emily Freeman on her “What We Learned” post.

About Frog Eating

frog smaller

I’m not sure when  I started telling my kids, “Do the worst first,”  but it wasn’t till recently that I realized that it was essentially “frog eating”.  Brian Tracy, in his book Eat That Frog!  quotes Mark Twain by saying “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, it will likely be the worst thing you’ll do all day.”

(Read a full review of the book here.)

It’s so true.  I try to do my frog eating as soon as possible in the day.  Not only are the rest of the tasks of the day easier, but there’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment for having wrestled with a  tiger and won.

For me, cold calls and sales calls at the bookstore are frog eating.  I have to psych myself up to do them, but I’m so much happier when I follow through instead of bailing.

About Goal Setting


Just when I was about to give up on goal setting altogether and throw it over, a few bits of advice from bloggers and a few tweaks to my approach have renewed my hope. Here’s the problems I face and my tweaks:

  1. No accountability.  I set up a secret Facebook group and invited five people to have access.   Just knowing there are eyeballs my goals helps, plus I now have feedback.
  2. Goals are written in a notebook and forgotten.  I wrote my goals on a spreadsheet and imported it to my Facebook group page.  Whenever I achieve one or two goals, I update the document and repost.
  3. Making year long goals was daunting.  I concentrated instead on 90 day goals.  (Credit for this idea goes to Todd Herman )  Thinking only 90 days out really sharpened my focus and helped me set goals that were achievable in the short term.
  4. Too many goals in too many areas.  I purposely limited myself to 5-7 goals.  That’s doable.  (This idea came from Michael Hyatt.)  Most of the time, I’m only working on one or two at a time.  It’s easier to eat elephants when you take them one at a time.  And, with such a narrow focus, it’s easier to keep them in mind.

About My Health


I’ve had fewer migraines in the last two months than in the past.  I chalk it up to incorporating more Vitamin D into my diet and managing the symptoms.  I’m hoping in the near future I can get answers about what’s happening with my health.  Stay tuned.

About Vacation


I’ve been planning for months to take a week of vacation in January.  I am in a difficult season in work and life and looking forward to vacation helps get me through the hard days.

I’m disappointed virtually every vacation because my expectations are too high. This year was no exception.  I expect to fully rest and be highly productive.  The plan was to take a full week off of work.  But, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to work Saturday.  And, there were projects that didn’t go as planned, so I ended up working Tuesday and Wednesday, as well.

In hindsight,  I should have pushed harder in the weeks leading up to my vacation to get my projects done earlier.  I was focusing on specific goals, letting other things slide and enjoying some rare afternoons off.

After my husband and I left town on Wednesday night, the situation drastically improved.  I was able to fully rest and be highly productive.

One more thing we learned: do research on your movies before you hit Redbox.  Of the four movies we rented– two we didn’t watch and two we wished we hadn’t.  With Redbox, it’s not much money down the drain, but four hours of our lives are irrecoverable.  We should’ve read reviews first.

About What Makes Me Happy


I already knew books made me happy.  Now I know that working on graphics makes me happy, too.

Shout out to pixabay for free high quality images that don’t require attribution.

Happy Winter, everyone!

(Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a small portion of your purchase goes to support this site.)

What makes you happy?

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THM Challenge Update Week 3


No change on the scales.

I’m discouraged, to be very frank.

We took some vacation time last week, and though I was off plan for at least one meal, I took a lot of effort to eat on plan the whole time.  I also spent more time planning meals and looking for recipes. It makes me wonder if other health issues are influencing outcomes.

So, here we go into the last week.  I supposed even failed experiments have some value.




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THM Challenge Update Week 2


The good, the bad and the ugly:

I gained back 2 pounds.

Really, this challenge wasn’t about losing a certain number of pounds.  It was about staying on plan for 31 days.  The results will take care of themselves.

I haven’t done a good job of planning my meals or staying on plan.  Lots of extenuating circumstances.  But, those are mainly excuses.  I haven’t stayed focused.  I let my focus become diverted.  I usually enjoy planning.  I like trying finding and trying new recipes.  But, for some reason I’m finding it very difficult this time.

On the brighter side, I didn’t get sick when the bugs were going around, hitting most of the family.  And I only had one day with about a six hour migraine.  And, overall, my energy level has been better than usual.

Now, I have half the month left.  Time to marshall the troops and hit it again. don'tgiveupmarathon


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The Power of Habit, Part 3



Overall, I’ve been pleased with my experiment to establish new habits in my life.

I have been able to add a new one every 28 days and still keep up with the old ones.  Knowing that I can add more habits in the future–just not now– helps me to be patient with the areas of my life that are not where I want them to be.  It will come– eventually.

I’ve added a 15 minute daily walking workout to my routine.  Even though I’ve not seen dramatic changes from adding this habit, there have been some subtle ones.

One thing I still struggle with is getting my “reward” after establishing a new discipline.  The earliest I can get done with my routines is 6:20.  By that time in the morning, there is often responsibilities I have to address, so getting in an hour of reading for fun is difficult.

Another thing I’m coming to terms with is skipping a day.  For the past three months, if I woke up with a headache, I’d still get out of bed at 5, (and have devotions, write for a half hour, exercise) and then go back to bed.

But, now,  when I wake up with a headache, I turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.

I have to believe that my body has adjusted to getting up at 5 and that one day off won’t kill that habit.

I must admit, though, the next day takes a lot more self-discipline.  I’m there right now.  The day after.  I’m so tired.  It’s hard to keep going.

This morning in my Bible study, I was reading about the pain and humiliation that Christ endured.  His path was exponentially more difficult.  He didn’t want to drink that cup.  But He pushed through.  We will receive our rewards if we persevere.  Even our frail, imperfect efforts will be rewarded.

May God grant us the grace to be faithful.


Buy it now on Amazon

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What I’m Reading January 2016


The Lake House by Kate Morton


I was disappointed by The Lake House at a couple different levels.  But, I did make it through to the end, which says a lot for a fiction snob like me.

I do enjoy the multigenerational, flash back-and-forth between centuries, reveal-the-secrets-at-the-end style of writing that Kate employs.  For me, personally, I found the immorality to be distracting and, without giving any spoilers, I walked away thinking, “Too much coincidence.”

Buy it on Amazon

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins


Wow.  What a great book.  Where I’m at in life right now and what I’ve been thinking lately–actually, always– made the truths of this book hit home for me.  So profound.  New insights.  Jeff featured journeys of people who aren’t superstars, whose stories are not well known.  That made them easier to relate to.  Anecdotal evidence can be twisted to prove any theory, but what Goins said rang true.  It struck a chord, and his conclusions made sense.

I’ve started through this book a second time in an attempt for better understanding.

My “aha!” moment came in chapter 7 when he talked about the portfolio life.  Boy, does that sound better than “doing a bunch of different things and can’t make my mind up about any of them.”

Highly recommended.

Buy it on Amazon

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham


I’m almost afraid to admit I’m a John Grisham fan.  But, hey, what can I say?  He can tell a story.  Grisham characters can be a little cartoonish, but you’re mostly always guaranteed a twist you didn’t see coming.

The Rogue Lawyer is an unlikely hero.  He lives by his own code of ethics.  The story actually paints a realistic picture of modern morality.  What I do isn’t as bad as the really bad guys.  If they cheat, then I have to cheat to beat them.  But, not too much and don’t get caught.  And if you’re in the pursuit of” justice”, almost anything’s okay.

Buy it on Amazon

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson


How could I not read a book called The Bookseller?

I had trouble getting into it at first.  But, now, it puts me in mind of It’s a Wonderful Life, describing two parallel lives and how differently life can turn out based on one pivotal moment.  That’s a good point to wrestle with.

What is real and what is imagined?  How can we use our imagination to help us cope with reality?  A couple more good points to wrestle with.

Very satisfying.

Buy it on Amazon

(Disclosure:  this post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)


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THM Challenge Update Week 1


Surprisingly, I have lost 2.8 pounds since I began my challenge.  It’s surprising because I have not done a good job of planning my meals.  But, just a couple of tweaks in my normal routine have been enough to make the difference, I guess.

Another surprise is that I haven’t had chocolate cravings since I began and haven’t eaten any chocolate all week.  I usually stick to dark chocolate and have gotten to the point where that tastes sweet to me.  But, I haven’t eaten any of that or really wanted to, either.

In a nutshell, the Trim Healthy Mama plan is eating a meal or a snack every three hours that includes protein and fats or protein and carbs.   What you’re trying to avoid is pairing fats and carbs at the same time which results in stored calories instead of burned calories.  Briana Thomas has a great summary of the plan for newbies.

I’ve gone off plan twice.

I haven’t been hungry at night.  When I’ve been tempted to eat sooner than three hours, I try to get something to drink.  It hasn’t been that hard to wait.

It’s encouraging to see results (on the scales and non-scale victories) even when I haven’t been 100% all in like I would prefer to be.  Three and half weeks to go.




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31 Day Trim Healthy Mama Challenge


I’ve been flirting with the Trim Healthy Mama Plan for a couple years now.

I got the first book, the 600+ page one, and half-heartedly tried to follow it.  But, I ran into some obstacles.

First of all, some of the special ingredients advocated are expensive.

Secondly, it takes planning.  Winging it doesn’t work well.  I’m winging it a lot in my life right now.

Since it’s a long-term, eat right for life plan, an on again off again approach isn’t going to see results.

thmplanbook Trim Healthy Mama Plan, the new book.

I love learning a new strategy for doing life better in any area.  Follow through, being consistent day after day– not so much.

Since I know this is a weakness, I decided to challenge myself to stick to the plan 100% for a relatively short amount of time 31 days (the whole month of January). If I can plan ahead for success, knowing that it will only last a limited amount  of time, maybe I can see the results that I wasn’t seeing before.

There are lots of websites and blogs out there to help those eating the THM way.  Some do focus on staying on plan even if you’re on a tight budget.  Darcie’s Dishes posts some weekly menus that don’t require special ingredients.

There are official  Facebook  groups, also:  a general group for anyone on THM, a group for beginners, a group for frugal mamas.

THM has started an affiliate program, so I will include affiliate links back to their store for books and products that they sell.

thmcookbook Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

I will post a weekly update on how I’m doing, as an accountability measure for me and, hopefully, an encouragement to you.

The ultimate purpose of this site is to encourage people who want to change their lives.  I truly believe that we can reimagine our story– that we can create a different ending.  We don’t have to end up where we’re headed.  Personal testimonials are powerful.  We can draw hope from stories of those who have climbed the mountain we’re trying to scale.  Their tips, their truths, their encouragement can help us.


So, here I am.  Fellow journeyer.  Trying again. Adding some elements.  Reimagining my own story.  Grab a walking stick.  We’re in this together.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a small percentage of your purchase helps to maintain the expenses of this site.)

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